Task Force Tetrabot

Imagine a spaceship soaring through space. It is huge, colourful and looks a little alive. Solar sails ripple out like fins. Observation points twinkle and rotate as planets pass by. Elegant curves wrap around habitation banks, domed parks, fabrication yards and flotillas of smaller craft each carrying a single pilot, soaring around the mother ship on the 'morning' solar breeze.

You don't notice any of that though. You have better things to do. You're a tetrabot, a tiny little robot that is part of a vast number of distributed intelligence that clean, maintain and troubleshoot all areas of the Ship. Your basic shape is two pyramids stuck base to base, about the length of a fingernail. Onto this, the Ship can mount a number of small attachments to allow you to move about and do your task. Apart from remaining small enough to fit through the Ship's pipes (3-4 bits), there is no limit on what you can ask for and how often you can swap parts out. If you, as a tetrabot, can think of it to ask for it, it must already be in the Ship's databanks.

The limitations are of course, you are very small. This means you have limited battery. It also means you have limited processing power, so you might be a little ignorant or single minded. Play up to that!

Using Clichés risks running down your power reserves (lose a dice if you roll a 1). Fortunately, charging points are relatively common, and complete rebuild points are never too far away.

Ideas:

Zeppy Moth wings (4)
Skysilk wrapped wings allow powered flight but that can be plugged against each other to form a little hot air zeppelin to glide on the Ship's interior breezes

Geckine track unit (2)
A trio of caterpillar tracks that will always stick to anything with a hint of roughness, whether its inside or outside the ship

Magno grapple hooves (3)
Little legs tipped with magnets to cling to most metals, and can also be fired as grappling hooks on a long line

Sluggy slime sealant (2)
Spray on rapid hardening foam to fill cracks, even against vacuum or immobilize loose objects.

Whisker field (2)

You are surrounded by hairlike antennae, giving you an uncanny idea of everything that is going on, was going, and might well be incoming. You are not paranoid at all.

Pogo Poky Trident (3)
A trident type stick that can be used to poke things.Spring loaded, it can also be used as an unpredictable shock absorber, or even to punt objects to the other side of the room!

Silk spinners (3)

Useful for fabric repairs, lashing cargo together or making sure you don't get lost in the Lavvyrinth plumbing.

Welding lance [4]
Double pumped as quite a drain on the battery, but very handy to weld up microcracks in the Ship's bulkheads.

SparkPlugs (3x)
Lucky shots, in the form of small capacitors that can be used to give some equipment a bit of oomph when your battery is getting low

The Ship, of course, is represented by the GM. The intention for this game is that for the human passengers, the Ship is a pretty nice, not very hierarchical, place where people can study, travel, stretch themselves or relax. Imagine a university poured into a cruise ship traversing the transhuman rings of a well colonized solar system. There's no war here, and not really any shortages..

This is all background to the player tetrabots and can be used as throwaway background detail as these human giants float or walk by. The target tone is more slapstick then gritty. There's no 'enemies' as such, and other bots are generally helpful if a little stubborn and fixated on their own tasks.

I'd follow the guidance in the Risus Companion. Set a simple task. Break it into 5 subtasks, now complicate each one.

Possible tasks:

The shower in room 6063 is leaking. Please fix it.
Complications: The room is locked, the bathroom is full of steam, so where's the shower?, the shower's in use, how to sneak out after the repair now the human is out of the shower.•

A new variety of vermin has been spotted on ship. Track it and observe it for Prof Faunafan.
Complications: It is territorial, its territory includes some areas without gravity, it can swim under water, it has hungry babies.

Routine inspection and repair of the solar sail.
Complications: requires working outside the ship, this is a mass deployment of several thousand bots, traffic jam. How to reach your assigned bit of a km long sail? Micrometorite hole needs patching. Cut wires are sparking. Call for help from neighbour with bigger hole. How to dust the solar panel?

Deliver a new tank of enzymes to the toilet compost team. Access via sewer.
Complications: Tank needs three to lift, team is missing when you arrive, mixup at a picnic results in massive toilet usage, a piece of jewelry is found.



Comments